How to Create a More Sustainable Trade Show Exhibit

April 9, 2019

Kyrah Howell

Kyrah Howell is the Marketing Coordinator at Events 720, innovative exhibition suppliers in Australia. She is a recent communications graduate navigating the exciting world of events and expos. Alongside full marketing duties, she is also studying a master of marketing communication at the University of Melbourne. You can follow her work on the Events 720 blog and her LinkedIn.

Trade shows and sustainability aren’t often associated together. With huge amounts of materials and resources invested into creating single trade show stands (aka, exhibition booths), it’s no surprise that these events produce a high quantity of waste. 

As sustainability becomes increasingly important, we make conscious decisions each day to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our environment. These same choices can be made when planning an exhibition stand. From reducing energy usage to re-using materials, you can start making changes towards an environmental change. 

Choose energy efficient electronics 

Having a sustainable stand doesn’t mean it needs to be built out of cardboard – you can still have a great stand without excessive use of electricity. When possible, make use of natural lighting in the venue to illuminate your stand and avoid using a TV to showcase your brand. If lighting is essential, LED lights are an energy efficient option for your trade show stand as they use up to 75 percent less energy than regular light bulbs. 

Go paperless 

Marketing materials and business cards are essential when communicating with prospects at your trade show stand. You can reduce your waste, and costs, by going completely paperless. Instead of handing out brochures or flyers, you can direct your prospects to an informative landing page or easily send a pre-prepared e-book to their email. 

In these tech-savvy times, there are new applications available that allow you to store and send electronic business cards from your phone or tablet. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but also ensures prospects won’t lose that business card in their wallet. 

Avoid shipping and transportation

When possible, choose an exhibition stand supplier that’s local to the trade show venue. This will avoid the costs and pollution associated with transportation. This is especially useful for international exhibitors as it eliminates impacting the environment by shipping your stand overseas. 

Purchase your stand for re-use 

If you’ve already designed your stand with bright lights, audio and visual components, and painted graphics, you can still be sustainable by purchasing your stand and making plans to re-use it in the future. Stands made with high-quality materials will be durable and reusable. Ensure that you communicate this with your supplier to discuss any storage solutions they offer. 

Rent flooring and furniture

Renting certain elements of your stand, such as flooring and furniture, is a simple way to be more sustainable. These items can be re-used by the supplier for future stands, ensuring they don’t go to waste after a single use. Renting will also reduce the costs of storage and the amount of waste you produce at the end of the show. 

Smaller stand = smaller footprint 

Bigger isn’t always better. The larger your stand is the more materials and equipment it will require. Commit to being more sustainable at your next trade show by opting for a smaller space. A smaller stand requires less power, less structural elements, less painting and fewer graphics, but still has the ability to attract visitors. 

Opt for re-usable graphics 

Creative and eye-catching graphics are a must for all trade show stands. For a more sustainable approach, invest in fabric printed graphics. These graphics are high quality and durable, allowing you to re-use them for any future events and trade shows you attend. 

These are just some of the changes you can make to your trade show stand to take the step towards sustainability. When planning your next trade show stand, speak to your supplier about how you can create a stand that suits your needs, your budget and the environment. 


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